Decompressive surgery for severe cerebral venous sinus thrombosis
Gnana Ratnam. Boola
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AbstractBackground : Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) is one of the common causes of stroke in young people. Mortality in CVST, in addition to progressive thrombosis, is related to elevated intracranial pressure causing transtentorial herniation. The role of decompressive surgery in CVST is not well established. Aims : We report our experience with decompressive surgery in CVST and review the literature. Settings and Design : This is a retrospective study carried out in the Stroke Unit of a multispeciality tertiary care hospital in south India. Materials and Methods : The medical records of patients admitted with the diagnosis of CVST between December 2003 and July 2009 were reviewed. The clinical presentation, etiology, medical management, indications for surgery and outcomes were assessed for patients undergoing decompressive surgery. The sensorium was assessed using the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), while the outcome was assessed using the modified Rankin scale (mRS). Descriptive statistics were used as appropriate. Results : One hundred and six patients were admitted with the diagnosis of CVST during the study period. Eleven patients (10%) underwent decompressive surgical procedure. Indications for surgery included a low GCS at admission with large infarct on the computed tomography scan, mass effect and midline shift, clinical and radiological signs of transtentorial herniation, deterioration in the sensorium in spite of anti-edema measures and postthrombolysis hematoma. Eight patients (73%) had a good outcome while three patients (27%) died. Of the patients who died, two had a low GCS and bilaterally nonreactive pupils before the surgery while one had thrombosis of the deep venous system. Conclusion : Decompressive surgery for patients with large cerebral venous infarcts is a life-saving procedure. Patients with CVST who develop clinical and radiological features of transtentorial herniation either at presentation or during the course of medical management may benefit from decompressive surgery.